Empathy

“Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community, whereas intelligence to some degree could be found throughout every phylum and order including the arachnida” (Dick 30)

There is a distinction between empathy and intelligence that I noted throughout the book, two characteristics that show both similarities with humans and androids and differences. I found it very useful when deciphering part of what I believe to be Dick’s purpose when writing this book. This distinction brings about the difference between, what he calls, “hunter and victim.” (Dick 31) Empathy is used to differentiate the androids from the humans, humans having empathy while androids don’t, which we later find out to be flawed. I find myself pondering what intelligence and empathy have that correlates them together. I believe it is the fact that you can have both and but to be both intelligent and empathetic takes you to a different, many times conflicting level. I say conflicting because I think about the many instances where I’ve had to make a decision that is considered intelligent while having empathy, which can make a difference. This relates back to the book because it is believed that only humans have the capacity and ability to be both intelligent and empathetic, while androids don’t. It reminds me of the separation of the brain and the heart as two separate entities that can many times collide. Androids don’t have empathy, they don’t have a heart, which is why they eliminate the possibility of becoming the victim and are simply viewed as the hunter.

What I’m trying to get at is, I believe, Dick wanted people to realize that androids do care about other androids and which would mean they too would have empathy. The only distinction that once existed is no longer there, which makes them the same. They are different because they are androids but when characteristics are considered, they are the same. When I unraveled this I related it back to the course and one of the readings which said that there is no universal set of characteristics that make up a human because then non-human animals would be included being that some of them share the same set of traits. When looking at this beyond the androids I can see how it can be paralleled to humans and non-humans. We are all bound to be the same due to a similar trait such as intelligence, like Dick states, which evens the plain field.

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